Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Pastor Admits Atheism

Macbain posing with Dawkins
A recent story came to light as a UMC Pastor in Florida, Teresa MacBain, stepped down from her position and ONE day later let it be known to an atheist crowd attending the American Atheist Conference that she was indeed one of them.  This headline is widely celebrated in the atheist circles where I rub elbows both on Facebook and YouTube.

A quote under the story LINKED HERE says, "I am glad she saw the light.  Trained to be a minister, and preaching it, yet the truth finally won out.  Its a reflection of the growing class of those that don't recognize the monotheistic gods presented in various books that are filled with contradiction and scientific, as well as historic inaccuracies.  Besides, a god that sounds like Saddam Hussein?  No thanks."

Well this headline should neither be celebrated or shocking to any person's world view.  This just goes to prove what Jesus taught all along.  Its not about Religion, its about a Relationship.  You cannot fake that...at least not for the long-term.  Religion is man-made traditions, ceremonies, and rules that make an effort to find God.  Relationship is God's bridge to us and He makes that possible through Christ's sacrifice and Resurrection.

Do you trust man's way or God's? 

I feel sorry for this woman.  She obviously at one point in her life knew there was more to existence than naturalism.  But instead of developing a relationship with Jesus Christ, she joined a religious practice that left her feeling empty and fake.


Neil said...

So she basically admitted to lying, and her "seminary" and false church didn't have a clue. This is so predictable on so many levels.

Tim said...

Yes, she did admit to lying, though not at all maliciously. We all lie routinely though most of us justify our actions because (naive) honesty would often cause worse harm for ourselves and others in this complex world.

This woman was a true believer that learned too much about the bible in the course of her multi-decade vocation to continue believing.

The process did not happen overnight and was fraught with struggle.

There are many in the clergy in this position as uncomfortable as that may be to the faithful.

Belittling her and her church as "false" demonstrates a degree of judgement (your book precludes you from engaging in) and insecurity in your own faith that is telling to outsiders.

Start painting yourself into that philosophical corner and you'll quickly find there are so few "true" believers that your sect becomes no different than any other insignificant "cult".

sonofdavid said...

As someone who grew up in the United Methodist church I can say that with a fare amount of confidence (but not certainty) that it was likely not her in-depth study of the Bible that led her to this decision, but her searching outward that likely made what knowledge she has of the Bible seem insignificant. As Tim and Neil have asserted, some do find their way into ministry without a solid belief in God. All ministers are shaken at some point, but I don't see there stepping away from their faith to be "predictable". Said differently, Tim, churchgoers don't automatically make "true" believers, and in this case, a seminary degrees doesn't automatically make a Christian for life.

If you are referring, Tim, to the Bible, which you said, "your book precludes you from engaging in (judgment)," that is not entirely true. While Christians are not the judge and jury of humanity and should therefore not consume themselves with such thought or discussion, people are encouraged however in John 7 to "stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly". 1 Corinthians 2 also says that "The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all thins, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgment." Call a spade a spade, but don't go down the road of how they should be eternally punished.

Jim said...


Not sure if you were responding to Neil, me, or a combination of the two. But I will respond either way.

First, I must agree with you about her intents. I doubt they were malicious and I also spent many years in a denominational practice believing myself a Christian only to find out later I wasn't at all. So in many ways I can relate to her and am indeed sympathetic.

Where I do take issue with your points is this idea that she "learned too much" and could not continue believing. This implies of course, that any reasonable person that would just investigate enough, would undoubtedly come to the same conclusions she has. I'd like to think myself and Neil as direct evidence to the contraray with several Christian Scholars we can point to adding additional weight to my counter-point.

Last but not least is the complex subject of judging. Scripture in one verse says judge not, lest you be judged. In another spot it says take the splinter out of your own eye before embarking on such an adventure as removing one from another's eye. And yet in another spot we are told to judge a tree by its fruit. Together we get a clearer picture that we can judge but with certain limitations with respect to who the ultimate judge is and that we are not to assume His role. The fruit of this pastor's path produced atheism and rejection of the faith. It doesn't take much discernment to conclude as Neil or I have concluded. We are not condemning her. But we are disappointed that this kind of headline is used in the way that it is by critics of Christianity.